Weekend Links

Here are the pretty things I am reading and looking at recently.

Victorian Recycling. The theme for the Steampunk Chat on Twitter at 9pm EST tonight is Sustainable Steampunk!

Victorian earrings, made out of real hummingbirds.

Mayan Cooking at Multiculturalism for Steampunk. I am now imagining tea parties with Mayan tamales and tasty tea. Mmm…

An octopus coffee table.

Sunday Silliness: Victorian Dress Espionage

My friend was trying to come up with a video game proposal, and I jokingly suggested one of those dress-up games they make for little kids, but with Victorian dresses. And then I decided this was a really good idea and spent an hour daydreaming about it, and I thought I’d share the results here!

You are a top seamstress in London, and your client, the high-fashion Lady What’s-Her-Face, has worked with you to design the most innovative, fantastic dress ever seen. Unfortunately, your rival is trying to steal your design and ruin both your reputation and Lady What’s-Her-Face’s! She intends to make a similar dress for her own top client, Lady So-And-So!

Your job is to travel London, seeking only the finest fabrics, trims and notions, without having your designs stolen by Lady So-And-So’s henchmen. Fight off spies and pickpockets with your parasol, sew on trim neatly and gather bustles, get Lady What’s-Her-Face to stand still for fittings, all before the Queen’s ball at the end of the month! The clock is ticking, and this dress will require all of your skills!

Bonus mini-game: Lady What’s-Her-Face invites Lady So-and-So for tea! Sneak as many insults as possible into polite conversation without causing a scandal!

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone exciting and safe New Year’s Eve adventures, and a wonderfully epic 2011!
<3 Katie and the rest of SPM

All-Girl Gang Terrorizes Victorian London

This is officially my favorite news story of the day: It tells about an all-female London gang that existed from as early as the 1700s to the 1950s, pulling enormous shoplifting heists and beating up anyone who invaded their turf.

“Dressed in specially tailored coats, cummerbunds, muffs, skirts, bloomers and hats sewn with hidden pockets, they mounted raids on London’s West End shops, where they plundered goods worth thousands of pounds. … They became so well known in London that panic erupted when they were seen near high-class shops.”

Check out the whole thing here. It’d make great inspiration for a story, I think!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, everyone! (Did you see the eclipse on the Solstice? If not, there’s photos here!)

Whatever your holiday plans were/are, there’s an upcoming internet event which all might enjoy – Lia Keyes (@liakeyes) and Matt Delman (@mattdelman) has started a tradition of weekly steampunk chats on Twitter, under the hashtag #steampunkchat. They’re every Friday at 9pm EST, and Jha is hosting tomorrow night. Just enter #steampunkchat in the search bar of Twitter to join the conversation! You can also get to it through tweetchat.

(Steampunk Santa via CyborgNecromancer on DA)

Biopunk Project Gropes With Slimy Tentacles For Submissions

Earlier this month, I received an email from Christine Danse, author of the steampunk novella, Island of Icarus. She had seen a blog post I’d made about a year ago regarding the subgenre of biopunk, and raised the question of why it has sat so quietly in the back corner of popular culture. From there, we generally both agreed that it was high time to bring biopunk a little further into the limelight. The result is The Biopunk Reader, newly released from the test tube to blink it’s beady eyes.

If the subgenre is unfamiliar, the basics are explained on the blog, or here at: http://www.ottens.co.uk/gatehouse/dieselpunk_articles-3.php

At this point in the process, we’re looking on a rolling basis for short fiction, poetry, artwork, news stories, reviews- all of course, with a hefty serving of punk on the side. And who better to understand and sympathize with our mission than the steampunk community, so talented and gutsy?

Submissions can be sent to miss_abiotic@yahoo.com or christinedanse@gmail.com.

That said- have a happy, muculent holiday season, everyone!

A Very Steampunk Christmas

A Very Steampunk Christmas

I’m not normally one to go spreading around the steampunk Christmas cheer (I don’t have a problem with it per se, but it’s not a holiday I celebrate and I’m old enough now to complain about the fact that the build-up starts in August), but today I’m going to be making an exception. That is because my very good friends The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing have just released the Christmassy-themed A Very Steampunk Christmas EP that is well worth the mention whether you love this time of year or not.

Some of you may have heard their ‘Ebenezer’s Carol‘ around this time last year, and they have re-recorded it for the new EP, along with a long-awaited release for their song ‘Fox’. There are also two new songs where The Men offer their own unique take on a couple of traditional Christmas songs: ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Comfort And Oi!)’, and ‘Silent Night (Stille Nacht)’.

If you’re looking for something festive, gentle and soothing then you probably have the wrong band, but if you’re looking for a funny, intelligent and boisterous steampunk Christmas album, then this is the EP for you.

‘A Very Steampunk Christmas’ is available for download, and also on very special 7″ vinyl.

Native Steampunk Roundup

There’ve been a few interesting posts recently about Native American-inspired Steampunk, particularly issues surrounding costuming, so I thought I’d pass them along!

Beyond Victoriana has a guest post on stereotypes in costuming and incorporating native technology.

And Multiculturalism for Steampunk has about a dozen posts on the topic. Here are my favorites:

Native American Steampunk: An Approach, a good overview on the subject.

Reflection from the Crow-Lady, Miss Kageshi’s response to criticisms of the above-mentioned post.

(There’s a bunch of costuming stuff on the same site, in addition to some recipes.)

And finally, I missed most of Tor.com’s Steampunk Fortnight a while ago, but there were a few posts dealing with imperialism, colonialism, and non-Euro-centric steampunk, including this one which has an overview non-European steampunk possibilities, including Native American characters.

Jha’s Epic Steampunk Rant

I meant to post this a few days ago and just got to it: Jha posted a pretty fantastic rant, tweeted with the comment “I, too, can rant about steampunk!”

Here’s my favorite bit, at the risk of spoiling the ending:

“You want to hate on steampunk? Steampunk’s not the problem. Imperialism is the problem. White supremacy is the problem. Consumerism is the problem. Implicit, microaggressive racism is the problem. Steampunk’s just the aesthetic being run over by the usual bullshit, because, guess what? Of course it’s going to be! HELLO CAPITALISM, HOW R U. US OF A SENDS ITS LOVE AS USUAL.”

Steampunk Flash Fiction Contest

Howdy, all. Lately, I’ve been experimenting a bit with a new writing medium- flash fiction. If you haven’t heard of it, flash fiction is a story that usually runs around 500 words. A sort of hybrid between short fiction and poetry, the best flash fiction punches you in the jaw and leaves you dazed (in a good way) for the rest of the day. So I was excited to stumble today across a steampunk flash fiction contest hosted by The Bookkeeper blog at: http://www.rikkidonovan.com/index.php/steampunk-challenge-2/steampunk-flash-fiction-writing-contest/

Check it out!